Laleye Dipo in Minna
The federal government is mulling connecting Minna, the Niger State capital with Abuja the Federal Capital by rail, Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has disclosed.
Bello was reported to have dropped the hint when he addressed the last session of the state executive council meeting in Minna.
The governor was said not to have given details of the project but was quoted as saying that the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi announced the plan in Abuja.
Amaechi according to Bello, said the project would commence in 2020 and that it was part of the rail transportation plan of the federal government which is also to reduce stress on the roads.
Niger State Commissioner for Investment, Dr. Mustapha Jibril who confirmed the development also said that the state government would construct a light rail to link Minna with Suleja town.
Jibril said the project which would be under the build operate and transfer policy would also entail the rehabilitation of the old standard gauge rail line in the state.
According to the commissioner, as a result of the huge cost of carrying out the feasibility study for the project which he put at N1.2 billion one of the three firms that showed interest in the job had agreed to do the study without any cost to the state government.
Jibril said the light rail when completed would convey agricultural products from Minna to Suleja from where the goods would be transported to other parts of the country.
The Commissioner said an Indian company with headquarters in Kano Nigeria had also agreed to establish a Shea Butter factory in the state but did not say when the job will commence.